Note: Jacky C. has a deep experience with the American ginseng industry. Any opinions expressed in this blog are his.
“The student has become the teacher!” said John Pomfret a journalist for the Washington Post. A purchaser had taught Wisconsin ginseng farmers to grow ginseng of a higher quality.
Prior to Beijing Tong Ren Tang’s presence in Wisconsin, the ginseng industry was struggling. Unsold inventory from previous years was piling up, with no buyers in sight, due to poorer quality than ginseng found elsewhere. Worsening the industry, local Wisconsin farmers lacked the means to create proper channels into reaching Mainstream Chinese consumers. At that time, Wisconsin ginseng farmers saw Beijing Tong Ren Tang as a sort of saving grace.
A Washington Post article in 2009 describes the situation (Link below)--
NCG Ginseng, a representative of Beijing Tong Ren Tang since 2009, has helped in the change of Wisconsin’s ginseng industry. Since then, the NCG family has come to only accept the highest quality of ginseng roots. In order to ensure that the standard is constantly being met, we work closely with our growers.
Here are some of our requirements:
- Ginseng must be planted in non-contaminated virgin soil. This is guaranteed by verified soil sample tests prior to planting.
- Only strictly U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) certified use of pesticides and fungicides is permitted. This is so that the ginseng avoids all residues of potential contaminants containing chemicals and/or heavy metals.
- Fresh ginseng roots must be cooled at temperatures above freezing for about two weeks after harvest. This is to achieve better skin wrinkling and ensures proper drying.
- The roots must be thoroughly washed and dried in our way to get a perfect interior and exterior colour.
Since 2009, ginseng quality has begun to improve, however, due to the snowstorm of spring 2010 a large portion of ginseng gardens in Wisconsin saw extensive damage. For the last 5 years, the ginseng industry was a Seller’s Market as a result of low supply. As such the price of ginseng increased by about 30% annually. But that is no longer the case!
At last year's ginseng prices, average ginseng farmers were able to make around a 300% return on their initial investments (some even made returns at a rate of 400%) making ginseng the most lucrative agricultural crop in the US.
You might be asking yourself, “If ginseng is so lucrative, then why doesn’t everybody just do it?” Well see, the process of growing ginseng is much more complicated than growing your average crop. It is not only a very costly process, but it is also considered to be a high-risk investment, not to mention the sheer amount of work that goes into ensuring the healthy growth of these roots. A single ginseng garden of one acre (4,047sqm) needs about fifty thousands dollars of investment during a five-year period. The average per-acre yield of dried ginseng roots for Wisconsin is around 1,250 pounds, so that's a lot of money per pound when it comes to the cost for farmers. With all the facts taken into consideration, there are then two ways to lower the per-pound cost: a) by cutting the overall investment or; b) by increasing the yield per acre.
On average growers of smaller scale farms opted to cut investments while those with larger scale farms attempted to increase the yield of ginseng by investing more in higher quality pesticide and fungicide products so as to effectively prevent diseases in ginseng plants. The final outcome? In general bigger growers about doubled their yield while smaller growers saw yields that were below the norm. As a result we’ve come to learn that the prevalence of disease amongst ginseng plants is the single biggest challenge to growing it.
Ginseng farmers -- who we have chosen to work closely with since 2009 -- were greatly rewarded. They continue to invest heavily into buying clean land and equipment to ensure that only the highest quality of ginseng is grown and in turn supplied to us here at the NCG family. As such, we can confidently provide true quality products to our treasured customers.
Remember, we’ll stop at nothing to bring you the best!
-The NCG Family
NCG Ginseng Inc.从2009年作为北京同仁堂的代理方，也一同协助改变了威斯康辛州的花旗参产业。从那时起，NCG团队开始只接受高品质花旗参。为了确保采购的参的品质可以达到标准，我们在一年四季农作时期也一直与我们的花旗参农夫保持着密切的联系，以从源头上把控高标准花旗参，即：
A typical Wisconsin ginseng field.